Similar to the potential clients who call about harassment in the workplace, we also get quite a bit of calls from potential clients claiming that they are or were being subjected to a hostile work environment. A hostile work environment is a type of harassment in the work place. The harassment can be verbal or physical, and must create a hostile or offensive work environment.
There is a test to determine if an employee is or was being subjected to a hostile work environment. However, similar to harassment, a hostile work environment that is created must be based upon the employee’s protected characteristic which includes sex, sexual orientation, gender, age, race, national original, marital status, veteran status, and disability.
Next, the hostile work environment must be so severe and pervasive that it alters the working conditions of the employee and creates an abusive workplace. Factors such as frequency of the conduct and severity of the conduct are considered to determine if it is so severe and pervasive as to effect the employee’s workplace.